Located in the British Isles, Scotland is a magical country filled with charming towns, historic castles, and stunning landscapes. Approximately 5.5 million people live in Scotland, the largest city being Glasgow. Aberdeen, Dundee, and Inverness are other major Scottish cities.
Scotland has a rich history and culture, with many historic landmarks and monuments, such as Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, and the Culloden Battlefield. The country is also known for its traditional music, dance, and festivals, such as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Highland Games.
Scotland's lifestyle and economy depend heavily on travel and tourism, In Scotland, the tourist industry employs around 9% of the total workforce and the tourist sector in Scotland provides about £6 billion to the national GDP. Scotland received 151 million visits in total in 2019 and spending by visitors from outside Scotland amounted to £2.5 billion in only 2019.
Scotland is also home to some of the world's most beautiful natural landscapes, including the Scottish Highlands, the Isle of Skye, and Loch Ness. These stunning natural features attract visitors from all over the world, who come to hike, fish, and explore the countryside.
The Scottish economy is diverse, with industries such as oil and gas, renewable energy, and tourism playing a major role. The Scottish people are known for their hospitality and friendliness, and visitors to Scotland can expect a warm welcome and a unique cultural experience.
Airbnb has become a popular accommodation option for travelers visiting Scotland. The platform offers a wide range of listings throughout the country, from city apartments to rural cottages and everything in between. Some of the most popular destinations for Airbnb travelers in Scotland include Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Scottish Highlands, and the Isle of Skye.
BiGGAR economics study found that travel on Airbnb supported more than 33,500 Scottish jobs and boosted the Scottish economy by £677 million in 2019 - a significant contribution to local families and communities. Overall, Airbnb has become an important part of the Scottish tourism landscape, offering travelers a diverse range of accommodation options and supporting local hosts and businesses.
According to NatureScot, tourism is one of Scotland's seven fastest-growing businesses, providing more than £4 billion to the Scottish economy each year. The natural environment is an important tourism feature, with vistas and landscapes being the most compelling reasons for international travelers to visit Scotland.
One of the benefits of using Airbnb in Scotland is the opportunity to stay in unique and interesting properties that may not be available through traditional accommodation providers. For example, travelers can book a stay in a medieval castle, a traditional Scottish croft, or a beautiful restored rural bothy.
Airbnb has also had an impact on the Scottish tourism industry, with many hosts using the platform to supplement their income by renting out spare rooms or holiday homes.
In January 2023, The Scottish Daily Express revealed that a study, done by Crown Pavilions, found that the Scottish Highlands was the county where hosts can expect to earn the most from Airbnb, with an average income of £77 per night or £539 per week. A weekly profit of £340 is higher than the average across the whole of the UK.
For hosts who rent out short-term rental accommodation to guests, a new licensing scheme has been implemented in Scotland.
As of 1 October 2022, all short-term rentals in Scotland will be required to have a license, unless specifically excluded. It is a legal requirement to obtain a new license, regardless of whether hosts occasionally sublet or let out a spare room for instance.
It is now necessary for accommodations to be licensed, and owners must comply with the new legislation. Local authorities are granted regulatory permissions to ensure the safety of guests and the community.
As in other European countries, the purpose of this law is to curb the growing number of short-term rental agreements without quality control and safety measures, particularly in areas where such agreements are negatively impacting local balances and the availability of housing.
The government is now seeking to support local authorities to make sure that properties meet society's needs, working as a guarantee of housing quality and protecting both guests and owners from other issues. The government is promoting a greater number of residential properties that meet important safety guidelines as well as refraining from having substandard short-lets.
As a result, short-term lets in Scotland will be filtered out, resulting in higher nightly rates and occupancy rates.
Your local council will require you to apply for a license if you use accommodation to offer short-term rentals in Scotland.
You have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a license if you were already using your accommodation to provide short-term lets before 1 October 2022.
When you apply, the council may ask for evidence you used the accommodation for short-term lets before 1 October 2022. Existing hosts (those that have received guests before 1 October 2022) have until 1 April 2023* to apply for a license. Hosts can continue to offer lets until their application has been determined.
You must apply for and get a license before you start offering lets. This is if you did not use your accommodation to provide short-term lets before 1 October 2022.
It’s against the law to take bookings or host guests before you have a license. If you do not apply for a license on time, you could get a fine of up to £2,500 and be banned from applying for a license for a year.
Existing host – councils have up to 12 months to process your application New host – councils have up to 9 months to process your application If a local council does not reach a decision on your application in those timescales, you’ll automatically get a license for up to one year.
This is unless the courts grant the local council an extension of the processing times.
Licenses are issued by local councils for a specific period of time. Upon issuance of your first license, you can keep it for up to three years.
There are four categories of short-term rentals in Scotland that will be subject to the new licensing scheme, covering a wide range of properties. Before receiving a license, accommodations will be verified to ensure they meet certain criteria.
There are 4 types of licenses:
To get a temporary exemption from the requirement to have a license, you must meet certain criteria and apply to your local licensing authority.
The license may be granted for a single continuous period of time (no longer than 6 weeks in a calendar year) to accommodate a large number of visitors in a short period of time (during music or art festivals, sports events, large conferences).
The short-term accommodations still have to adhere to the standard regulations, even when the exemption is granted.
If you have already applied for a permanent license, your temporary license can last for up to six weeks. All mandatory conditions and requirements will still apply, even if you receive a temporary license number. In that case, your temporary license will last until your license application is finalized.
In Scotland, all short-term rentals must comply with mandatory regulations that are linked to safety. It's important to verify whether the property complies with the regulation and this can be found here.
Every short-term let application also requires consultation with:
Types of accommodation that need a license Residential and commercial properties in Scotland are covered by the short-term let licensing scheme, which includes:
serviced apartment, either on its own or up to 4 in a building that's a flat or residential unit where:
Aparthotels, meaning a building that,
Private residential tenancies and social housing tenancies do not require a license. However, A short-term let license is required in addition to your House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) license if you offer short-term lets.
Hostaway's vacation rental software offers a robust platform that allows hosts to effectively manage their Airbnb listings in Scotland, streamlining the marketing process and ensuring that bookings are well-managed. However, it is crucial for hosts to adhere to the specific regulations and guidelines established by Airbnb for listings in Scotland.
By using Hostaway in conjunction with a thorough understanding of the applicable regulations, hosts can optimize their Airbnb listings and deliver an exceptional experience to their guests in Scotland. If you're interested in learning more about Hostaway and how it can enhance your property management business, you can schedule a demo call with one of our product experts to gain valuable insights and discover how Hostaway can work for you.